Photo Taken by Taylor Regulski
They say there’s no way to truly understand a Twenty One Pilots show until you experience one for yourself.
They are correct.
It’s hard to put into words what exactly we experienced at the Amway Center in Orlando, FL on 6/16 but the performance was on par with that of a Cirque Du Soleil show and easily surpassed any and all expectations.
The band is currently in the middle of its Bandito Tour, in support of their fifth studio album, Trench. For a band that consists of only two members (Tyler Joseph, lead vocals, bassist, piano, and synth player and Josh Dun on the drums) it was truly incredible how confidently they were able to take command of the entire stage. Every moment was meticulously choreographed, every song felt bigger than the last, and few other artists have the ability to captivate an arena’s worth of people the way that this Grammy award-winning duo did.
The stage set up was unique to say the least. Performing in front of a burning car, Tyler and Josh played atop rising and falling platforms as they kicked off the show with some of their more popular radio-hits. If you’re a casual fan, you’re likely to recognize several songs off of the band’s breakout album, Blurry Face. Songs like “Stressed Out”, “Ride”, and the Suicide Squad soundtrack “Heathens” were definitely the crowd favorites, but don’t make the mistake of thinking alternative pop rock is the only genre that Twenty One Pilots has mastered.
The reality is quite the opposite.
Twenty One Pilots does not fit conveniently into one genre and, because of that, the band has often faced backlash for intentionally making music that “appeals to everyone”. While the core of much of their music falls into the alternative rock category, there are clear pop, hip-hop, and electronic influences throughout their discography. Tyler and Josh’s range is so diverse that they can seamlessly transition from rapping to drumming to serenading the crowd with a ukulele in a matter of moments. It’s easy to say that they’re pandering, but the passion that bleeds out of their performance is so undeniably authentic that it’s hard to believe that’s the case.
Simply put, you don’t have to be a die-hard member of the Skeleton Clique to enjoy this show.
Halfway through the performance, the band made a dramatic transition to their B stage as Tyler rapped his way across an elevated walkway above the crowd to a piano waiting on the other side. Once there, he sat down for an intimate performance of “Smithereens” before being joined again by Josh for performances of “Bandito” and “Pet Cheetah”.
As I looked around the arena, it became more and more apparent just how big of an impact this band has on its fans. I saw couples belting out lyrics in unison. I saw teenagers dancing vigorously in the open pit. And I saw a parents sharing an unforgettable experience with their children as they bonded over their love of this band. In the modern era of music this is a level of influence and reach that you just don’t see every day. It was a special feeling to be in the crowd and experience it firsthand.
The Twenty One Pilots show was like watching a movie and every great movie needs a strong ending. With the literal support of their fans, Tyler and Josh stood on top of the crowd and banged their drums to the beat of “Chlorine” before winding back down on “Leave the City”.
It’s hard not to sympathize with the band’s overall message on the importance of “taking the next step”. While their lyrics often explore the darker corners of the human experience, their resilience and openness about such topics are much needed.
Don’t be so quick to write off Twenty One Pilots as all hype. Sometimes the hype is worth believing.